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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Getting to know the dogs

For the past few days I have been tasked with caring for the quarantined Mississippi dogs that arrived at our shelter after a long three day road trip. At first I was a little disappointed because if you are involved with these dogs you are unable to deal with the rest of them due to their illnesses. But after today doing the same thing I really feel like I am bonding with these animals.

The cleaning has even gotten easier. I guess the medications are working because fewer and fewer of them have that horrible diarrhea anymore. By no means is it clean but it is really a lot better since the first day I cleaned them. After clearing out all of the poop and switching hoses, that's right, a new hose that doesn't get you soaking wet after you use it, or so I thought. The new hose was one of those non kink things that took a good ten minutes just to untangle. Everything was going well, no leaks or kinks, but when I started rinsing out the kennels the sprayer would fly off and I would get drenched. I was at my wits end after the sixth time of this happening. I know I'm no rocket scientists but I was pretty sure I was putting the thing on right. Hopefully we can get a new nozzle because I was seriously getting frustrated at this point.

Once I got all the guys food down I went back to their yards to spend a little time with the special dogs. They all get along with each other pretty well but you have to keep their "doggy skills" up while they are under quarantine. You also have to make sure that they are getting more and more used to humans handling them because the less time you spend the more fearful they will become. Out of the bunch there are certainly my favorites and a few that are a little difficult to handle but once again they are all very friendly animals. One I have been paying particular attention to is a mix beagle that is just about double the size of a traditional beagle. She is still really fearful and I have to use a mentor dog in order to get her out of her kennel. She is getting better though, I think I even saw a happy tail wag when I went in her kennel this morning rather than the nervous tail to the left I have gotten all week.

Once all of the dogs were taken care of and fed I headed over to the rabbitat where another staff member and myself were able to knock it out very quickly. Soon after it was on to the rest of the duties. Unfortunately garbage couldn't be taken out because our dumpster was overflowing but laundry was still backed up. Of course the dryer was on the fritz again but at least this time I could call the service number. Turns out the thing was overheating and I basically had to climb inside the lint trap to find the thermostat reset button. After being covered in fuzz and I found the button and the thing seems to work fine now. Of course once I fixed that I find out that the water has been turned off because the water heater is being replaced. There goes getting caught up on the laundry.

After all of the "chores" I headed back over to my animals and got them fed. I feel horrible for them because you can tell that they were kenneled with quite a few other dogs and they litterly scarf down their food faster than I can put it in their bowls. After feedings I headed back to the office for a quick adoption denial. It was for a puppy that the adopter would want to keep outside while he was away and also at night. The man was understanding when I explained to him about not only the safety concerns for the animal but also the behavior issues that will arrise. I just hope he doesn't go somewhere else and get a dog that he is going to keep outside all day. Quickly after that I was called to do a cat showing as well. I wanted to immediately deny it because their last two were indoor/outdoor cats and were killed by coyotes and they once again wanted an indoor/outoor cat. To my surprise though they had moved and were in a new location so that made it a little bit better. The only thing was the cat that they had seen through the window was an indoor cat only and I would not be able to show him. She got a little frustrated at our "military strictness" but I explained to her why and she seemed to understand.

Once all was said and done I got my guys out for one last break. I got their areas cleaned and organized and decided to spend some time with my beagle friend. She is finally eating out of my hand and seems to be getting a little more comfortable but she still has a long way to go. I am looking forward to these guys getting cleared in order for the volunteers to start socializing them better and not to mention finding them their forever homes. And if you didn't guess already, the picture at the top is my new friend that I have been spending so much time with. Thanks for reading and keep the comments coming, I love to know what everyone is thinking.


  1. Your friend might be a treeing walker coonhound, actually. I love hounds- so sweet and versatile. I hope she comes out of her shell and wows a family soon!

  2. Thanks so much, did my research and I think you might be right. Should help us out in getting her out of her shell and finding her the perfect home.

  3. Coonhounds are very people-oriented and shelter environments seem to tweak their heads more than it does other breed becuase of the fact they were bred to work so closely with humans. My English Pointer (same family of breeds) was very tentative when I first pulled him from the shelter- 8 months later, hes not 100%, but hes come leaps and bounds from where he was.
    Good luck again!